13 Songs For Crushes (2016)

Songs For Crushes (And The People Who Have Them)

Do you remember your first crush? Mine was a girl named Sarah in my kindergarten class. She wore cute dresses with bows on them. One time, in gym class, we put the handles of jump ropes on our heads and pretended we were aliens. It was the romance of a lifetime! Universal Pictures in in talks to buy the rights to our story, so prepare your bodies to witness our epic love as it unfolds on the big screen. You will laugh. You will cry. You will question your life choices.

Tragically, Sarah and I parted ways after that one glorious year together. I was forced to move on to other crushes like Amy, Samantha and, um, Richard Karn? It recently dawned on me that the bearded, flannel-wearing Home Improvement star may have been my first official celebrity crush. In retrospect, this makes a ton of sense! At the time, however, I didn’t realize why I’d pay more attention when Al Borland was on my television. It was one of those life mysteries I hadn’t quite unpacked yet.

Upon coming to terms with this newfound epiphany, I turned to Twitter, Facebook and YikYak to ask both friends and strangers to share their #FirstCelebrityCrush. The final results were compiled in the deliciously tacky cover art for my new playlist, “13 Songs For Crushes + The People Who Have Them“.

Hit the play button below to take a listen, or head over here if that doesn’t work.

It’s common practice for me to brag that my latest playlist is better than my last… But I’m going to be 100% honest. There’s an (almost) intentional clumsiness to this thirteen-song collection. Some of the transitions are awkward, and rather than obsess over the sequencing, I came to enjoy how this echoed the reality of having a crush.

Things aren’t always smooth and easy-breezy. Sometimes, you get so caught up in your fantasies that you never wind up confessing your feelings. Sometimes, you get drunk and wind up saying the wrong thing. Sometimes, the magic fades after a few interactions, and you realize they were never the right person for you. And other times, you wind up spending eight years with a cute guy you met at a bar, and maybe that also involves adopting two dogs and two cats? I don’t know! These are all just random possibilities.

Enough feelings! Let’s talk about the music…

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18 Songs For Haunted Souls (2015)

A holiday playlist for haunted souls and the ghosts that haunt them, inspired by the ghosts of past, present and future in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

When I first came up with the title for my latest playlist – “18 Songs For Haunted Souls (And The Ghosts That Haunt Them)” – there was an aching feeling that the theme was approximately one month too late. Ghosts were so last season! Snowflakes, reindeer and oh-so-festive red cups swooped in to replace all the scary Halloween decorations. Before I had a chance to utter a single “boo” about this mix, we had officially entered the time of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You“. What business did I have hooting and hollering about haunted souls as the holidays descended upon us?

That’s when it hit me – Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is one of the most popular ghost stories of all time. This realization led to a non-stop avalanche of inspiration. The artwork for this collection instantly popped into my head, and even better, the music itself started to make more sense. The sequencing came together without a second thought, because somewhere along the way, I convinced myself I was curating Music from and Inspired By Mickey’s Christmas Carol – a live-action gender-swapped remake of my favorite childhood movie starring Chloë Grace Moretz as Scrooge McDuck.

If this description somehow sounds intriguing, you can listen here or hit the play button below:

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that the adjective “haunting” has been overused to death by everyone who’s ever written about music, but if you want to drag me onto an episode of Cliché Court, I’m more than willing to make my case that the description fits these eighteen selections. While this isn’t quite the equivalent of a modern-day Danse Macabre, this collection comes equipped with distorted vocals, hypnotic instrumentals and at least three blatant lyrical references to the theme at hand.

In what proved to be an exhausting exercise, I once again decided to kick it old school and jotted down a few random notes for each song. Advance apologies are offered for the point when I got sleepy and stopped attempting to talk about the actual music.

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12 Songs For Feeling Okay (2015)

A playlist for late Autumn 2015, because you need to know that everything will be okay.

Admittedly, my most recent playlist “16 Songs For Sweaters (And The People Wearing Them)” was a bit of a downer. My 2015 summer playlist was sprinkled with angst, far more appropriate for daydreaming in the shadows than prancing through sprinklers in the sunlight. Upon coming to this realization, I began to project my real-life “wet blanket syndrome” onto my online presence. “Nobody is ever going to listen to your playlists!” I shouted inside my brain with a hint of frantic anxiety. “Because they are the aural equivalent of Eeyore suffering from a bad case of lost tail.”

So, naturally, I got a new attitude! The solution was to turn the beat around. When I heard an upbeat, inspiring pop anthem, I made my best effort to tilt my head back and say “YES” like Shonda Rhimes, Grace and Frankie and Michelle Williams featuring Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland. These were my fight songs! My take back my life songs! And I needed to embrace them with open arms and an open heart.

Except, well, this started to feel disingenuous.

I wasn’t ready to have shots with Jussie Smollett, play the lottery with Michelle Chamuel or even venture to contemplate the sugary mall-pop sound of Eden xo‘s latest release. It was midway through yet another October – traditionally one of my least favorite times of the year – and I was trying to force-feed myself medicine that left a horrible taste in my mouth and, even worse, didn’t make me feel any better.

The trust was, I just felt okay… And I was okay with that.

Those are all the fascinating details behind my new playlist “12 Songs For Feeling Okay“, a collection of songs that make me feel good (without making me feel guilty for not feeling even better). Within this set, there are sprinklings of hope, romance and empowerment, yet overall, the unifying theme is a sense of urgency. These twelve selections drive you forward with the music, and if I do say so myself, they’re also pretty great for driving.

At this point, you’re welcome to hit the play button now or save that step for later. Meanwhile, I’m going to get back to the roots of It’s The Money Shot and give a painfully long track-by-track explanation for each songs’ presence on this list. Feel free to join me on this journey or abandon me to do something much cooler. It’s okay! I don’t mind.

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